Latest Issue

The way we were

The fine art of breakfasting

By Ian Irvine   December 2009

The American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne visiting London describes in his diary a breakfast party given by Monckton Milnes in 1857. Breakfast parties were then fashionable opportunities to discuss books and politics:

“Mr Milnes introduced me to Mrs Browning [Elizabeth Barrett Browning, wife of Robert]. She is a small, delicate woman, with ringlets of dark hair, a pleasant, intelligent face, and a low, agreeable voice. She looks youthful and comely, and is very gentle and ladylike. And so we proceeded to the breakfast room, which is hung round with pictures, and in the middle of it stood a large round…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect